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The Mongol Envoys
- Moko Tsukai Gosho -


Nichiren Daishonin wrote this letter in 1275, when he was fifty-four, to Nishiyama Nyudo, who lived at Nishiyama Village in Fuji District, Suruga Province. Nishiyama had evidently just finished a tour of duty in Kamakura and reported his safe return to the Daishonin at Mount Minobu, along with news that five Mongol envoys had been beheaded at Tatsunokuchi by the order of Regent Hojo Tokimune. Japan at this time faced the threat of imminent attack by the Mongol Empire. A massive war fleet launched against the southern Japanese islands in late 1274 had been driven away by a sudden gale, but by the spring of the following year, Khubilai Khan had renewed his demands that Japan pay tribute or face invasion. In executing the Khan's envoys, the Japanese military leaders were proclaiming their intention to fight to the end rather than submit.

In the first part of the Gosho, Nichiren Daishonin points out that the real threat to the nation lies not with the Mongols but with Japan's own religious leaders who have distorted the teachings of Buddhism and led the people astray. Quoting sutra passages, he declares that when the rulers of a country value deluded priests and reject the votary of the True Law, that country will suffer disaster. "A person of wisdom," he adds, is one who can discern from present phenomena both their cause in the past and their effect in the future. This perception into the three existences of life characterizes Buddhas and sages. From this standpoint, the accuracy of Nichiren Daishonin's prophecy of the Mongol invasion may be seen as an expression of his enlightened insight.

The Daishonin then explains briefly that the Lotus Sutra surpasses all Buddhist and non-Buddhist teachings in revealing that "all phenomena are contained within one's life," meaning that our own lives permeate the entire universe and that the supreme truth or Mystic Law is at the same time inherent in ourselves.

In the last paragraph, the Daishonin states that despite the impending war with the Mongols, which no one living in the country will be able to escape, his disciples will ultimately be protected in their quest for enlightenment. This section of the Gosho indicates that a hunt honoring the late Hojo Tokiyori, originally scheduled to be held on Nishiyama's fief, had been canceled on account of the national defense preparations, and that Nishiyama himself had for some reason been passed over when warriors were selected to go south to fight against the Mongols. Nishiyama may have felt this to be a blow to his samurai pride, but the Daishonin encourages him to look upon these developments as the blessing of the Lotus Sutra. Not only will he be spared the trouble and expense of hosting a ceremonial hunt, but his life may well be protected in addition.

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